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Contributor Success Guide

Contributor Success Guide 18
Contributor Success GuideContents Stock Image And Video 101 
 Turning Pro
 Turn Your Creativity Into Cash 3
 It’s the Law Copyright, Trademarks, 
 A Letter from Shutterstock 4
 and Marketplace Integrity 39
 About Shutterstock 5
 How to Work with Models 41
 Why Should You Contribute to Shutterstock 6
 How to Get Access to Celebrities 45
 What Are Stock Images 10 Production Strategies of the Pros 46
 Assembling a Team 47 What To Create
 10 Ways to Find Trends and Inspiration 12
 What Buyers Are Begging For 15
 Glossary 49 How to Maximize Your Profits When Shooting 17
 Video: Get Much Higher Royalties with 
 a Little More Shooting Time 21
 The Ingredients of TopSelling Stock Images or Videos 24 Submitting to Shutterstock
 Copyright 2014 Shutterstock, Inc. This Guide may not be reproduced, displayed, published, or redistributed without written permission from Shutterstock. Copyright in Your First Submission and Application Success 26
 each image belongs to the artist that created same or the artist’s designee. All images used in this Guide are licensed through Shutterstock. Links or references to thirdparty
 Keywording 29
 sites are not intended to be endorsements. Shutterstock is not responsible for the content
 Rejection Reasons–Get ALL of Your Photos Approved 31
 of such thirdparty sites. Nothing in this Guide is intended to be legal advice. Shutterstock makes no warranties or representations related to this Guide’s accuracy or its fitness for Making Money at Shutterstock: Royalties Explained 36
 any particular purpose. About “Sensitive Use” 37Turn Your Creativity Into Cash Want to earn cash for being creative Do you already submit to stock sites, but want to learn more techniques for mastering sales Then this is the guide for you. We’ve assembled hundreds of tricks, tips, and explanations that can help you become a top provider of stock images and video. A Letter from Shutterstock There has never been a more exciting time to be a member of Shutterstock’s creative community. Today, photographers and illustrators have thousands of creative tools at their disposal, ranging from digital paintbrushes to affordable HD DSLR video. A global network of enthusiasts and professionals regularly trades tips and inspiration. Image buyers are no longer just major publishers and big companies—small businesses and individuals are licensing images for every use you can imagine. 
 It’s all happening globally and instantaneously. At Shutterstock, we want to support artists as they connect with image and 
 motion buyers in a global, instant, “always on” marketplace. We value our relationships with our contributors and we want to continue to invest in 
 their success. With that goal in mind, we created this free guide to being a successful 
 stock image seller. We hope that you enjoy it and find it useful for 
 building your business. About Shutterstock Shutterstock is a leading provider of highquality stock photography, vectors, illustrations, and video to creative professionals around the world. Our current library contains more than 35 million royaltyfree images and 1.7 million footage clips. We’ve served more than 400 million downloads to nearly 1 million customers in over 150 countries since the company was founded in 2003. Shutterstock supports a contributor community of thousands of photographers, videographers, artists, and illustrators from around the world. Why Should 
 You Contribute 
 to Shutterstock In the past 20 years, the business of visual communication has undergone massive change. Photographs used to be published in newspapers and magazines once per day 
 or once per week. Today, there are nearly 3 billion Internet users consuming visual content 24 hours a day, 
 7 days per week. Businesses and publishers big and small find themselves in need of more and more visual content. You can take advantage of this new opportunity by contributing images and video to Shutterstock. We’re a leading source of revenue for photographers, illustrators, and videographers.
 We’ve served more than 400 million image downloads to nearly 1 million customers in over 150 countries and 20 languages. According to an independent survey by a leading contributor website, Shutterstock is consistently ranked 1 for overall individual earnings among similar competitors. We bring your images and video to customers worldwide. 
 Each year, Shutterstock invests millions of dollars in global marketing programs to keep our site a favorite of the world’s image buyers. Our 
 ads can be seen prominently in search engines, on 
 leading web sites, and in print around the world. 
 Our team meets regularly with customers and 
 contributors at more than 20 leading trade 
 shows, including shows by HOW, AIGA, 
 Adobe, TED, and the World Photography
 Organization. We travel the globe to
 meet and welcome new customers., 2013 Microstock Industry Survey, 2/12/2014 Why Should You Contribute to Shutterstock We respect our customers and contributors. 
 From our transparent pricing model to our simple website experience, we believe in putting our customers and contributors first. We talk with both every day. Contributing work is fast and easy. 
 We maintain high quality standards with a fast and efficient upload, submission, and approval process. Contributors 
 can start earning money within 24 hours of submitting 
 new content. We’re nonexclusive. 
 Enjoy the freedom. We don’t pressure you into exclusively distributing images or video through Shutterstock. Your content is yours to control to maximize your selling opportunities and profit. Why Should You Contribute to Shutterstock We believe in continuous innovation 
 and the value of new technology. 
 As a technology company, we ensure that our product teams are always looking for new ways to improve and enhance the experiences of both customers and contributors. As just one example, be sure to check out our iPad and iPhone app We provide valuable tools and information. 
 Helpful features like our Keyword Trends tool give you valuable data to make better decisions about your business. And our favorite reason artists contribute to Shutterstock Because it’s fun. Unleash your creativity by joining a community of thousands of contributors at one of the most creative marketplaces in the world. Why Should You Contribute to Shutterstock What Are 
 Stock Images Simply put, stock imagery means any art that already exists and is ready to use. A stock agency maintains a library of images covering 
 a large array of subjects and licenses those images to customers. People often refer to “stock photography,” but “stock” can refer to any type of visual content, including photos, videos, or illustrations. Thanks to the ease of distributing digital content over the Internet, stock imagery has grown into a multibilliondollar industry. Stock can provide you an outlet to license all of those images you have been creating. More than ever, buyers are looking for locally relevant images that are highquality and professional. With Shutterstock’s power to reach art buyers worldwide, we can help bring your images to the people who want them. And since images can sell over and over, your creative work can generate income for years to come. What 
 To Create 10 Ways 
 to Find Trends 
 and Inspiration Images are a means of communication. And just as spoken 
 and written language adapts over time, visual language does 
 too. Successful stock contributors keep their portfolios 
 current and optimized to serve the needs of image buyers. So where do you go to find trends and inspiration Start 
 with a paper notebook, a tablet computer, a smartphone, 
 or any desktop, and keep an “idea journal” or “mood 
 board” of what you find. Here are some places to get 
 ideas for the imagery you create. Social Media and Online Tools. 
 What topics are trending Who are the most influential people in news and culture What causes do they believe in What issues 1 are controversial How could they be illustrated conceptually and literally The Newsstand. 
 Scan the latest headlines. Are there any common themes What are the political issues that will carry into the next election Are 2 there any emerging or inspirational aesthetic or visual trends Home Furnishings and Fashion. 
 What colors are most popular What looks were popular in this year’s fashion shows What styles are popular in home and 3 garden magazines Technology. 
 What are the coolest new gadget trends on the technology blogs What types of products and technology make headlines at the electronics trade shows How do popular products today, 4 like cell phones or computers and tablets, differ from ones seen in previous years Demographics. 
 What is changing about ethnic and cultural diversity How is your 5 neighborhood changing 10 Ways to Find Trends and Inspiration The Calendar. 
 What are the anticipated news, social, and cultural events that 6 will be coming up in the next year or two Your Street, Your World. 
 What’s different about your neighborhood The local food 7 Local fashion Architecture Religion Cultural events 
 There’s increasing demand for “local” and “authentic” images. Holidays and Celebrations. 
 What are the popular holidays and celebrations around the 8 world or in your town Contemporary Art. 
 You should never copy the work of other artists. But you should keep an eye on what’s interesting and new in the world of art, including photography. What problems, issues, or concepts are 9 contemporary artists trying to explore What new techniques are available Take a look at gallery shows, as well as art blogs, books, and magazines. Classical Art. 
 Sometimes the old ways are the best. Museums and art 
 10 shows that include traditional paintings are great sources 
 of timeless inspiration. 10 Ways to Find Trends and Inspiration What Buyers 
 Are Begging For To maximize your success, you need to understand what buyers are looking for. We frequently talk to customers who ask for images with these qualities. Images that show “authenticity.” 
 Perfectly posed images of beautiful models are popular, but buyers tell us every day that they also want authenticity. Images need to 
 be inspirational, professional, and of high quality, but people and activities should look natural, relaxed, and “real.” Images that show cultural diversity. 
 We live in an increasingly global economy and shared culture. 
 For years, buyers have been asking stock agencies for images 
 that reflect how culturally diverse our world is in a way that 
 feels honest and accurate. Images that show local culture. 
 Shutterstock serves a global audience. Does a business meeting in Hong Kong or Rio De Janeiro look exactly the same as one in London or Rome Don’t copy “popular” images. Buyers want highquality and authentic images of the world as seen through your eyes.Distinct variations from the same shoot. 
 Buyers often tell us things like this: “The shot was perfect – but we couldn’t use it because the person was serious, not smiling.” Or the image was horizontal, not vertical. By shooting distinct and unique variations of the same scene, you can give a buyer options while maximizing sales opportunities from a single shoot. Thoughtful room for text. 
 Your images need to have a clear center of interest, but have you
 thought about how text might be overlaid on the image Think about 
 a magazine cover, advertisement, or twopage spread. Where do photographers leave room for text What techniques do they use – 
 like shallow depthoffield – to create a suitable space for text Images that they can’t find anywhere else. 
 We were recently approached by a potential customer 
 who works for a government agency specializing in 
 wastewater treatment. She was a regular buyer 
 of images of sewer sludge. Who would imagine 
 that Popular themes such as nature, objects, 
 business, and healthcare may seem obvious 
 to beginners, but since those categories are 
 saturated, finding images of unique subjects 
 should also be a major part of your portfolio 
 strategy. These images might not be the top sellers, 
 but your unique, niche images are up against less 
 competition, and will help you diversify your portfolio. What Buyers Are Begging For How to Maximize Your Profits When Shooting Even top professionals consider how to save money on production costs to maximize revenue. Here are the top tips to keep your production expenses low. Rent—don’t buy—certain equipment. 
 It’s likely that your camera, basic lenses, and flash are things you want to own. But 
 studio lighting and other equipment can often be rented in a costeffective way. Top professionals often rent equipment when the benefits of renting outweigh the cost of 1 buying, storing, maintaining, and insuring equipment that could be technically obsolete 
 in just a few years. Share equipment and studio costs. 
 If you know other photographers who submit for stock as well, talk to them about sharing production costs. For example, studio lights can be rented by the week and then shared among a few individuals. Always remember that whoever signs the rental agreement is 2 responsible for the equipment in case something is lost, broken, or stolen, so choose partners who are trustworthy and responsible. Shoot multiple scenes with your models.
 There are photographers who develop entire portfolios around a few models. While it’s best 
 to use a diverse selection of models, you should maximize your time when you have models in the 3 studio. Different sets, angles, facial expressions, orientations, clothing, and scenarios are all ways to maximize the return on a single shoot. Shoot video and stills at the same time. 
 More and more cameras have HD video capability. HD video is an increasingly popular stock medium and videos are often licensed at higher prices than stills. There are differences between shooting stills 4 and video, but you can greatly increase your earning potential by creating both during the same shoot. Try before you buy. 
 Photography software can be very expensive. Thankfully, many companies like Adobe offer 30 day free trials of their software. If you’re not sure if you’re going to need certain functionality, try out a 5 few software packages before settling on your final workflow and committing to making purchases. How to Maximize Your Profits When Shooting When you do buy, try to DIY (“Do It Yourself”). 
 Brandname video and photography accessories can be expensive. Thankfully, a large number of “DIY” sites have 
 been created. Sites like have tutorials to 6 create or buy inexpensive versions of popular items like 
 video stabilizers, dollies, LED lights, and camera sliders. Get releases and avoid logos and trademarks. 
 If your images show people or property, they can’t be licensed for commercial use without a model or property release. They also can’t be used commercially if they contain obvious logos or 7 trademarks. Getting a signed release will ensure that you 
 get the highest return on your work. Get creative with your space. 
 You don’t need a 2,000squarefoot studio to shoot sellable photos. A clean white bathtub can be used creatively to get object shots on a white background. Many amazing shots 
 8 are taken in garages against a small seamless white or black backdrop. Be sure to pay careful attention to lighting, but remember that no one can see what’s outside of the frame. How to Maximize Your Profits When Shooting Take good care of your equipment and sell it 
 when it makes sense. There are many reasons to take good care of your equipment. One reason is that camera equipment such as lenses and flashes often holds its value very well. If you protect your glass, you might find that you can sell it on eBay for almost 
 9 as much as you paid for it. Camera bodies might not retain 
 their value as well, because new technology comes out 
 with great improvements. The most important budgetsaving technique: 
 run your business like a business. Be conscious of exactly what you’re spending on equipment, models, and each shoot. Keeping track of your expenses with a spreadsheet is a smart way to increase profits. It’s like dieting: 10 unless you count calories and weigh yourself, you begin to quickly lose track of how you’re doing against your objectives. Set realistic goals and plot a longterm strategy for success. Bonus tip: 
 Top photographers also know that their value is often in creating images, not keywording and uploading. Images and video can be sent to thirdparty production houses to be keyworded, retouched, and optimized for sales. Or a paid assistant can do the same. This approach typically applies to photographers who create thousands of images. How to Maximize Your Profits When Shooting Video: Get Much Higher
 Royalties with a Little 
 More Shooting Time We see increasing demand for video. The rise of Internet video, mobile video, video advertising, paid TV – and the availability of inexpensive and easy tools to both create and edit video – have increased the sales potential of stock footage. True, it requires an investment of time, talent, and equipment to shoot, edit, colorcorrect, transfer, and upload clips. However, there are rewards. Video has traditionally sold at a higher price point. Royalties at Shutterstock are as high as 23 per download, and your clips are up against less competition compared to still imagery. So what can you do to take advantage of this opportunity Many cameras these days are sold with HD video capability. A growing number of photographers are shooting both stills and video as 
 part of their portfolio strategy, even during a single shoot. Here’s what you ideally need to get started in professional video: An HD DSLR, or a camera capable of creating HD video. 
 You might already have this. The Canon 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, Canon 7D, and Nikon D800 are popular Digital 
 SLR cameras for creating HD video. Smaller “Micro FourThirds” cameras, and even compact cameras such as 
 the wearable GoPro Hero, are also capable of shooting HD video. DSLRs will give you more control and more 
 lens options, and they are typically more suitable for use with tripods and other accessories. A stable tripod with a fluid head. 
 A photograph can be a snapshot of a fraction of a second. A video clip can last a minute or more. Professional videos are consistently stable and steady, even when panning. For handheld shots, there are various stabilizers and brackets, as well as “build it yourself” options, to reduce the blur and vibration caused by camera shake. An extra viewfinder or an external monitor. 
 Video is typically viewed through the small LCD of a DSLR camera. Unfortunately, that makes it 
 hard to get precise focus as objects are in motion. There are many aftermarket accessories 
 available for enlarging the view of the LCD screen. One such accessory mounts on the 
 back of the camera and works like a large loupe or magnifying glass. Alternately, 
 a small external monitor can also be used with a bracket. Both will give you 
 more precise focus ability. “Continuous” lights. 
 Still cameras rely on a single “flash” of light. Video requires 
 continuous lighting that stays on and stays cool. Lights can 
 be rented or purchased, but you’ll want colorbalanced 
 lights that fit the above criteria. Popular models 
 include cameramounted LED lights and studio 
 lights made by ARRI and KinoFlo. These kinds of 
 lights can also be rented.Audio recording devices: microphones and digital recorders. 
 Shutterstock accepts audio with video clips, but only ambient audio and background noise. Music or audio provided by third parties (licensed or otherwise) is not allowed. That being said – even for ambient sounds – “oncamera” audio is typically poor quality. If you want the best possible audio, 
 get a Zoom H4n or similar dedicated recorder – along with a quality, shotgunstyle or omnidirectional microphone and a wind shield. Highspeed or highcapacity storage cards.
 Video files are very large compared to photos, often running a gigabyte or more per clip. When it comes to speed, most storage cards sold today are sold with video in mind. But it’s worth checking the speed and size of your cards to make sure you have enough storage and that they’re fast enough to properly capture and transfer video. Harddisk space. 
 It won’t take much time to fill up your desktop or laptop hard drive with your clips. Having additional hard drives will allow you to offload your videos efficiently and will also allow you to move files between multiple computers. Always back up your data, too. Video editing software. 
 There’s a variety of video editing software out there. Some of the more popular packages are Final Cut Pro by Apple, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas Pro, Pinnacle Studio, and Avid Studio. In addition, packages like After Effects and Photoshop 6 Extended will allow you to apply filters or colorcorrect your clips. Research what you need before making a purchase. Video: Get Much Higher Royalties with a Little More Shooting Time The Ingredients of TopSelling 
 Stock Images or Videos They have “commercial value.” 
 “Commercial value” represents the likelihood that your image or video will be useful to a creative buyer. Since many images are licensed for commercial, corporate, marketing, or advertising uses, the more attractive and usable an 1 image is for a broad number of uses – including both editorial and commercial uses – the more it is considered to
 have “commercial value.” They have both literal and conceptual meaning. 
 An image of a surfer riding a huge wave represents literal subject matter such as a “surfer,” “wave,” and “surfboard.” But some images of surfing illustrate abstract concepts such as “risk,” “adventure,” “excitement,” “danger,” and 
 2 more. Images that have both literal and conceptual meaning are more likely to be popular as stock images. They have room for text. 
 Go to the newsstand and pick up some magazines. Look at the magazine cover and flip through the spreads. 
 Look at advertisements. How are designers overlaying text on the images Are the images filled with 
 3 visual clutter and distractions or are they visually simple and clean They’re inspirational. 
 Images that inspire an emotional reaction are more valuable than those that do not. An image of a 
 mountain climber celebrating on a peak can challenge our notions of what’s humanly achievable 
 4 and can highlight new levels of aesthetic beauty. They balance “aspiration” with honesty and authenticity. 
 “Aspiration” is defined as a person’s desire to be something better. However – in the case of 
 people – we can’t all expect to be bodybuilders, mountain climbers, or supermodels. Buyers often 
 5 want images that balance positive values that we all aspire to with honest depictions that an 
 audience will feel are both realistic and achievable. Submitting to Shutterstock Your First Submission and Application Success If you have existing images, or if you’re ready to start creating 
 stock, then joining Shutterstock is as straightforward as 
 123. We maintain quality standards, but we also have a very
 fast and efficient upload, submission, and approval process. 
 Many of our contributors start earning money within 24 hours 
 of submitting content. Here’s how to get started with your first batch of images (or video): Read Shutterstock’s submission guidelines. 
 Our guidelines explain your legal rights and responsibilities, technical 
 criteria, and what content is appropriate for the collection. 
 1 Consider whether your images have “commercial value” 
 and/or “editorial value.” “Commercial value” and “editorial value” are defined as the likelihood that 
 an image buyer will find your content useful to license. Is it realistic that your image would be used in an advertising campaign If the image is editorial in nature, could you see it being published for news or educational purposes 2 Images are licensed for many different purposes, but you should think about how desirable your images might be for different types of editorial 
 or commercial uses. Edit your images down to a quality set. 
 Even the best photographer can be a bad editor, because he or she has an emotional investment in the photographs. If you’re not sure what your 10 3 “best” images are, consider consulting other sellers in the Shutterstock or MicrostockGroup forums for their feedback. Your First Submission and Application Success Check your photos at 100 – 200. 
 View your images at 100 to 200 magnification in order to locate noise, artifacts, and other defects that might jeopardize their approval. 4 Include quality metadata and keywords. 
 For the most part, buyers don’t find your images by visuals alone. Search engines match a buyer’s search terms to the keywords you’ve entered. Better keywords = 
 better sales. Accurate keywords = better sales. If you enter 2545 accurate, 5 relevant, and properly spelled keywords for each photo, your chances of success are very high. Upload and submit. 
 Once you’re satisfied that your images meet the above criteria, it’s time to submit Upload your images at and keep an eye on your 6 email inbox for your official acceptance Don’t get discouraged. 
 Many successful Shutterstock contributors were rejected on their first 7 submission. If we reject your first submission, keep improving and try again Your First Submission and Application Success Keywording Make keywording a routine part of your workflow. Your images will sell better if you put a little extra effort into writing accurate keywords, and lots of them. Here are a few tips to help you master the art and science of keywording. Think like an image buyer. 
 Picture the person most likely to download your image. Now, put yourself in that person’s shoes and think about which words they’d type to find an image like yours. Get specific. Use 25 to 45 accurate keywords, and customize them for every image as much as possible. As a general rule, try to input 25 to 45 keywords per image. It might be tempting to upload a batch of images from a single shoot and label them all with a list of identical keywords. However, if you put in a little more time to write precise keywords for each image, you’ll see better sales. Make your titles and descriptions unique. 
 Titles should be succinct, punchy, and descriptive of exactly 
 what’s seen in the image. Make the title as accurate and unique as possible. For example, if you have two images of dogs, don’t give them both a title of “Dog.” “White Dog Playing With Ball” and “Black Dog Eating” will help differentiate the photos. The time you save when batch editing might result in fewer sales.Don’t spam. 
 Never label your images with irrelevant keywords in an attempt to get more views. Remember, the whole idea is to help the right customers find your images. Shutterstock reserves the right to ban contributors who use spam keywords. Be precise with descriptions of people. 
 Use as many accurate words as possible to describe your models’ ages, races, and genders. Take particular care in how you describe someone’s race and ethnicity. Don’t label someone with inaccurate ethnicities. Think about concepts and feelings. 
 A smiling person isn’t just “smiling.” He or she might also be conveying “happiness,” “joy,” “delight,” “humor,” or any number of other emotions. 
 Image customers often search for conceptual words like these, 
 so think about which words might apply to your images and 
 use those keywords liberally. Use a thesaurus to find new 
 words and a dictionary to spell your keywords correctly. Keywording Rejection Reasons– 
 Get ALL of Your 
 Photos Approved Our reviewers are responsible for quality control and enforcement of legal and editorial standards. Reviewers inspect hundreds – if not thousands – of images per 
 day. The reviewers are trained to inspect with a careful, professional eye. They are often photographers and artists themselves. The review process is subjective – but fair. 
 It is important to keep in mind that you should 
 never take a rejection personally. With the goal of getting ALL of your images 
 approved, here are some of our top rejection 
 reasons and their associated solutions. Poor Lighting. 
 “Poor lighting” describes issues with color balance (or white balance); 
 exposure, brightness, or contrast; or intrinsic lighting qualities such as 
 1 the presence of shadows. How to get the best lighting for your images: • Take a lighting workshop or watch instructional videos. • Make sure that you’re familiar with your camera’s white balance 
 and exposure settings. • Learn to bounce or diffuse your flash, which often creates more flattering 
 lighting conditions. • Use your camera’s “bracketing” features to shoot with several exposures 
 as a safety policy against poor exposure. • Adjust lighting in postproduction, with features such as levels, curves, masks, 
 and toning features in Photoshop and other image editing programs. • Calibrate your monitor with a color calibration tool like the 
 Spyder4Pro to make sure your images are adjusted as 
 accurately as possible. Rejection Reasons – Get ALL of Your Photos Approved Composition 
 “Composition” issues describe an image that is framed, cropped, or composed in a way 2 that limits its editorial and commercial usefulness. How to solve composition issues: • Think about how text might be placed over the image. • Frame your subject carefully in relation to the edge of the image. • Avoid distracting patterns. • Keep crops a little loose to give the customer more flexibility. • Don’t tilt your camera unless you’re confident that the tilt adds value to the image Focus 
 “Focus” issues describe unintentional or inappropriate blurriness in an image, either caused by lack of focus, motion, or poor lens quality. This is intended to be separate 3 from the intentional or artistic use of motion blur, “selective focus,” and depthoffield. Precise focus allows you to direct the viewer’s attention. A lack of focus can be distracting and can undermine the likelihood an image will be accepted or downloaded. How to solve focus issues: • Be precise in your focus, shoot test images, and use a tripod. • Learn how to properly use depthoffield. • Buy quality lenses, and microcalibrate them to your camera body if that feature is supported. • Learn how to judiciously use Photoshop sharpening tools such as “unsharp mask.” Never oversharpen. • Shoot at a sufficient shutter speed to prevent blur. Rejection Reasons – Get ALL of Your Photos Approved Dust Scratches
 The “Dust and Scratches” rejection pertains to images that have sensor dust, scratches, or an unclean background. These issues can be easily fixed in 4 postproduction before your images are submitted to Shutterstock. How to submit images that are dust and scratchfree: • Keep your camera and lenses clean. Store them where dust is minimal and clean them periodically. Take great care when changing lenses and use the appropriate sensor cleaning kit when necessary. • If you are scanning negatives, slides, or old photos, make sure that your scanner is clean and handle your images with care. Add a note
 to the reviewer when you submit scanned content. • If you are photographing an object on a solid background, make sure that the background is clean and free from any dust or debris. • Inspect your image at 100 before you submit. If there are any noticeable imperfections, carefully remove them with cloning tools
 or brushes in your image editor. Noise 
 “Noise” is usually created by oversharpening, film grain, dust, shooting 
 with improper exposure, insufficient light, or other artifacts. 5 How to solve issues with noise: • Don’t oversharpen images. • Shoot with a DSLR, rather than a lower quality camera. • Use the lowest ISO setting possible. • Avoid longer exposures. • Get the right exposure as you are shooting – use a light meter 
 if necessary. Rejection Reasons – Get ALL of Your Photos Approved Trademarks 
 When you take pictures that you intend to sell as stock, you absolutely must not include any distinguishing visual clues that relate to an an already existing brand, corporation, company, or famous design. If you do, this could constitute infringement and you will receive the following rejection reason: Trademark: Contains potential trademark or copyright infringement – not editorial. The obvious exception here is if you are submitting the image as editorial but if this is the case, remember that the image should also be newsworthy. How to solve issues with trademarks: • Avoid submitting images of isolated subjects which may bring to mind a specific product or service. • Remember that isolated elements may have trademark protection. Watch for discernible labels or logos on items such as clothing, electronics, or background advertisements. • If your image has questionable elements, remove them in postproduction. • Familiarize yourself with our list of Known Image Restrictions: Rejection Reasons – Get ALL of Your Photos Approved Making Money 
 at Shutterstock: Royalties Explained Technically speaking, image customers don’t “buy” your images. 
 They “license” them. You still own the rights to distribute and display 
 your image or video, but a license gives the customer permission 
 to use your work. Each time a customer licenses one of your images from Shutterstock, we pay you a royalty fee. Shutterstock is best known for its subscription services, but we also sell single image licenses, image packs, enhanced licenses, custom licenses, and video licenses. You can see each of our license types and their associated 
 royalty amounts on our earnings schedule: “Sensitive Use” In addition to our standard and enhanced licenses, Shutterstock provides custom licenses to buyers such as large advertising agencies. These agencies require more rights and some flexibility in how an image might ultimately be used. 
 That flexibility may include “sensitive uses.” An example of a “sensitive use” is a healthcare advertisement or political ad. Many stock image agencies, including many of our direct competitors, include a clause in their license that allows “sensitive uses.” Unlike those stock agencies, Shutterstock puts you in control. You have the option to decide if you want to participate in these sales opportunities. The “sensitive use” clause of our TOS allows select largevolume customers to use images for certain “sensitive subjects” with the following limitations: Customers must indicate that the image is of a model and used for illustrative purposes only. Our policy prohibits the use of images in pornography; in ads or promotional materials for adult entertainment clubs or similar venues; or for escort, dating, or similar services. If you choose to participate, you will have the opportunity to earn much higher royalties from customers representing the top ad agencies in the world. “Sensitive uses” will be a small fraction of the licenses secured by these high volume buyers, but participation gives you full access to the sales opportunities these buyers provide, as well as royalties of up to 120 
 or more per download. If you do not want to participate in these sales opportunities, 
 please visit your account page to change 
 your preferences.Turning 
 Pro It’s the Law 
 Copyright, Trademarks, 
 and Marketplace Integrity Copyright is a form of legal protection that gives the authors of a creative work 
 the exclusive right to display, reproduce, distribute, and financially benefit from 
 the work they create. Authors of artistic works can provide permission to others 
 to do the same – and can choose to do so for compensation – which is the 
 fundamental premise behind “licensing.” The right of copyright is found in 
 most countries’ laws and is respected internationally through conventions. 
 There is no universal copyright law, and protections can vary by country. Ideas are not protected by copyright. However, authors’ expressions of ideas are
 protected. If an unauthorized person copies original elements of another person’s photographs or designs, and if those elements are “substantially similar” to the
 original work, that person can be held liable for copyright infringement. So what does this mean for you First, it means that you own your photographs. When you submit them to 
 Shutterstock, you are providing Shutterstock with permission to license 
 the images to photo buyers on your behalf. Second, it means that you should be careful to avoid copying any original 
 or unique elements of another person’s work. In just the same way that 
 you have protections and rights afforded to you by copyright, so do other 
 artists and authors. The best way to steer clear of copyright issues is to simply focus on 
 creating original work. Be your own artist. Avoid copying the work of 
 others. It’s not worth the risk. When Shutterstock pursues copyright infringement Shutterstock pursues copyright infringements, including the following: • Unauthorized use of your images. • When one contributor copies another contributor’s work. Copyright issues are taken seriously, since they can result in legal disputes 
 and they can affect customers’ perception of the integrity of the archive. 
 Our goal is to have a safe and secure marketplace for everyone involved. For more on copyright laws in the U.S., see: It’s the Law Copyright, Trademarks, and Marketplace Integrity What is a trademark A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device — or a combination of these things — that is used to distinguish and identify the source of certain products or services. An example of a trademark is a company logo or a design that would be associated with a specific product or service. Like copyright, there is no universal trademark law, and protections 
 vary by country. Generally, trademark law seeks to protect identifiers 
 of certain products or services so that there is no confusion regarding 
 their source. We do not accept images which contain trademarks for commercial use, as they could potentially be used in a way that is likely to cause confusion of the source of certain products or services — and may therefore unfairly infringe on the trademark rights of others. So, how can you avoid trademarks in your work If a word, name, symbol, or device in your image brings to mind a specific product or service, then it may be protected by trademark. If your image contains a trademark, you must remove the trademark from the image before you submit it for commercial use. (Editorial use is still acceptable.) It’s as simple as that For more information on trademark laws in the U.S., please see: It’s the Law Copyright, Trademarks, and Marketplace Integrity How to Work with Models When you’re photographing people, don’t simply rely on friends who might not have the look you’re aiming for. Here are some strategies for finding good models who will help make your images successful. Agencies. 
 In almost any city, you can contact a local modeling agency and hire professional models for a few hours or a day. This can get pricey, so consider ways to negotiate for a lower fee, such as offering to take models’ headshots in exchange for them working with you. A “GoSee.” 
 Consider teaming up with another photographer and hosting a “GoSee.” Use social media to advertise a casting call and let the models come to you. Hold the casting during a convenient time for a few hours. Call each model in one at a time to interview them and take a quick snapshot. This will help you build a database of people to call on when you want to work with a new model. Street casting. 
 Ever pass a person on the street and wish you had taken their picture Next time you spot someone who you think would be a great subject, approach them and explain what you do and that you 
 like their look. Direct them to your website (if you have 
 one) so they can see your work. Avoid putting yourself in 
 a difficult or uncomfortable situation with a stranger; the 
 best models are confident and relaxed. Before you shoot 
 the model, agree to a rate at which you will pay them. Family and friends. 
 What about the people you know Do you have 
 photogenic family members who might make good 
 models From babies to senior citizens, family members 
 at any age can make great subjects. If you plan to use 
 family members, including children, please refer to the 
 section about Sensitive Use. How to Work with Models Don’t forget the details: • Model releases. Any photo depicting an identifiable person must have a model release for commercial license. 
 The release needs to be signed by the photographer, model, and a witness. If the model is underage, a guardian 
 will need to sign the release. You can find model releases here: • Compensation for the model. Knowing exactly what to pay a model can be a challenge, but no matter what you agree upon, be sure to work out this detail ahead of time. • Set expectations. When you use any model, be sure to explain stock photography and how the images might be used. On the Shoot Working with models can be both challenging and rewarding. Here are some helpful hints to make your shoot run smoothly. • Make sure your models are ready for closeups. Grooming is critical. 
 Ask your model to come to set with a neutral, fresh manicure, and minimal makeup 
 and hair product, if any. • Play some music. This will help your models relax and enjoy their time with you. • Shoot multiple scenarios and various angles. Move around. Give models various
 props, scenarios, and emotions to convey. • Let your models interact naturally. Try not to overdirect them to avoid 
 stiffness or awkward poses. • Shooting from below a model usually isn’t flattering. Try shooting straight 
 on or from above, looking down on your subjects. • If possible, hire a stylist. The stylist can also help with wardrobe, 
 hair, and makeup. How to Work with Models Photographing Children 
 Photographing babies and kids can make for fantastic and surprising images. Here are some tips to keep in mind: • Get permission. This should be obvious, but never photograph a minor without a parent or guardian’s permission. • Set expectations. Be sure that everyone understands the many ways in 
 which images might be used. Be sure to explain Sensitive Use to the parents or guardians of your little models. Allowing images for Sensitive Use is optional. • Have an assistant on set. An extra set of hands is something you won’t regret. Let this person entertain and interact with the kids while you silently move around the room. The wrangler should be prepared to tell silly jokes, sing, and dance around the room anything to keep the kids entertained and happy. • Try not to overdirect your young models. Capture them 
 while they move around and do the things kids do. Your 
 images will be more fun and REAL. How to Work with Models How to Get Access to Celebrities Special event coverage and celebrity shots are always in demand with photo buyers. Go where the action is with Shutterstock’s On the Red Carpet Program. Shutterstock will work with you to help you acquire soughtafter press passes for movie premieres, concerts, sporting events, or political rallies. It’s a great opportunity for you to gain access to special events, and a way for us to build our photo library. Learn more about the program here: To apply, download the form located here: A few things to keep in mind: • All photographs taken with Shutterstock credentials will be licensed exclusively to Shutterstock for a period of two years from the date the photos are accepted. • Show up on time, dress appropriately, be respectful. • Identify yourself and your relationship properly. • Create accurate captions – be careful to properly identify the subjects of your images. Crossreference identifications for accuracy; don’t speculate. • Be respectful of celebrities or other personalities. They are often mobbed by photographers, and over the longterm, the relationships and the reputation that you create will be more important than any one photo.Production Strategies 
 of the Pros The pros in the stock industry have one thing in common – they plan each and every shoot and know exactly what they are walking into. Help build up your portfolio by following these simple tricks. Map out your shoot. 
 Whatever the concept is, sit down with your team and map out every shot. 
 Come up with a list of 30 to 50 shots that you aim to capture. Hold a preproduction meeting. 
 Teams often meet before a shoot for a “PrePro” to go over lastminute details, including everything from wardrobe and props to lighting and subject placement. Have backup equipment. 
 Have a second camera handy and be prepared for any scenario. Watch the time. 
 Keep your shoot moving by following the schedule you 
 preplanned. If something isn’t working, move on. Build a strong team. 
 A retoucher, producer, and stylist will help take 
 care of everything around you while you focus 
 on taking pictures. Stay away from the cliché. 
 Stock photo clichés are in abundance on every photo site, including 
 ours. Follow what the pros do, and shoot popular concepts in unique 
 ways so your images stand out from the pack.Assembling a Team Leave what you don’t know to the people who do know. While you might make excellent pictures, your skills might not 
 be in food preparation, wardrobe, or bed making. Leave it to the 
 pros (the other pros) to step in and help with those tasks. Finding 
 and building the right team can be tricky, and it can take a number of 
 shoots before you feel comfortable working with others. But building a 
 successful team will make your images smarter and more polished. In this 
 field, it’s hard for one person to do everything alone. Start by placing ads online or at local art schools. Ask the photo community 
 in your town, use Craigslist and LinkedIn, and network, network, network. You 
 might find a friend who has always loved to bake and is willing to style food for 
 you. Or another friend might make a bed like nothing you’ve seen before, so let 
 them help style your soft goods (pillows, sheets, linens). Rely on your community 
 and offer to send prints to your helpers so they can develop their own portfolios. Love food photography but not a great chef Approach new restaurants in town and 
 offer to take shots of the dishes on their menus. Let them prepare a meal, then snap 
 away. Making trades like this can help you expand and diversify your 
 portfolio with minimal costs. Resources Glossary Do you come across words in the forums or on stock sites that you think you should understand, but don’t Here are a few terms that will help you get up to speed. in a microstock collection can come from anyone, from highend Royalty Free (RF) – Unlike Rights Managed (RM—see below), 
 professionals to the general public. Shutterstock is commonly RF licenses have very few restrictions. These images can be used called a microstock site, though much of our business extends multiple times by the same customer without additional fees. RF beyond that label. images are not given on an exclusive basis and are typically less 1 expensive than RM. These licenses can be very popular because Commercial Use – “Commercial Use” refers to images used in they are easier for a customer to understand and maintain. advertisements, product packaging, and other channels intended Shutterstock specializes in RF licenses. 5 to promote a good or service. Commercial use of an image may require special permissions, such as a model or property release. Rights Managed (RM) – One of the original types of licenses, 
 an RM license grants permission to use an image for a onetime Editorial (or “NonCommercial”) Use – “Editorial Use” specified use. However, if the customer needs the same image 2 images depict a newsworthy subject or event. Such images are again, they must pay an additional fee. Sometimes RM images are usually not appropriate for commercial use. For example, an 
 licensed on an exclusive basis to prevent others from using the 6 image of a professional hockey player may be newsworthy, but 
 same image. it would not be allowable to use that image in an advertisement 
 without the permission of the subject. Subscription Shutterstock offers many types of products, 
 but some of our most popular products are subscriptions. Our Copyright – Copyright is a form of legal protection that gives 
 clients can sign up for a monthly subscription, which allows them 
 the authors of a creative work the exclusive right to display, 3 to download up to 25 images daily. Each download generates reproduce, distribute, and financially benefit from the work they revenue for you. This creates significant sales volume and gives create. Authors of artistic works can provide permission to others 
 7 customers the freedom to be creative. to do the same – and can choose to do so for compensation – 
 which is the fundamental premise behind “licensing.” Microstock – This is an industry term for stock collections 
 with open submission channels and “micropayment” pricing that Metadata – Metadata is information (or “data”) about an 
 appeals to small businesses. Unlike traditional stock agencies, 4 image. For example, keywords describing the content of an image which are heavily edited and have many barriers to entry, images 
 8 are a type of metadata.Sign Up Now Joining our creative community of photographers and designers is fast and easy. 
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